Tou was a farm in Wasbister, known at Tow in charters dated 1567, 1624, and 1640, close to Hammerfield and Breckan. Early tenants included Hugh, Thomas, and William Craigie in 1736, Thomas Brand in 1740, and William Wishart in 1798.

In the early 1800s, Tou was occupied by Hugh Inkster and his family. In 1801, he married 20-year-old Isabel Craigie, Corse, and they raised a family of 12 children. Twins Thomas and Hugh were born on July 6th 1801, but Hugh died in infancy. Another Hugh was born in September 1804; Margaret, in August 1805; Jean, in March 1807; Cecilia, in October 1810; Katherine, in November 1813; James, in September 1815; Robert, in August 1818; John, in 1821; Ann, in February 1825; and another Jean, who was born in October 1826.

Paying rent in kind, the tenant of Tou in 1840 was Magnus Clouston. Magnus, born in 1790, married 34-year-old Ann Flaws of Hammerfield in 1819. They lived at Windbreck, Westside, and that was where their first three children were born; Margaret, on October 9th 1820, though she died in infancy; another Margaret, on January 24th 1822; and Betsy, born on December 3rd 1823. They then moved to Tou, where Magnus and John were born on September 14th 1826 and December 19th 1829 respectively.

Magnus Clouston had died by 1851. The census tells us that son Magnus, now 24 years old, was head of the household and farming the surrounding 16 acres of land. The rent at this time was £11 a year. His widowed mother Ann was in her 65th year and sister Betsy was 27, and both employed at home.

Above left is cobbler David Marwick and his wife Betsy Clouston at Tou, c.1880.
To the right is Betsy’s brother Mangus [Mansie] Clouston, with
Lower Hammerfield in the background, c.1895.

[These two photos, and the one below are courtesy of Orkney Library & Archive]

On March 15th 1861, Magnus married Jane Craigie, the daughter of Henry and Mary Craigie of nearby Quoyostray, who was born when they were living at Quoygray on August 26th 1828. Magnus and Jane had two sons; James, born in 1866, and John in 1869. By this time Magnus’s sister Betsy had married shoemaker David Marwick. He was the youngest son of William Marwick and Ann Craigie of Quoys, later White-meadows in Wasbister, born on September 26th 1830. They lived at Upper Tou and had a daughter, Ann, who was born on October 1856.

Mansie o’ Tou. A Tom Kent photograph, c.1900

Ann was 18 years of age when she married James Inkster Leonard in 1874. He was the son of James Leonard, Grain, later Quoygray, and Cecilia Inkster, Tou, and was born in December 1854. Ann and James raised a family of seven children: David Marwick was born in 1875; James, in 1877; John, in 1879; Archibald McCallum, in 1881; William Rendall, in 1880; Ann Elizabeth, in 1885; and Mary, who was born in 1889.

In 1891 at Upper Tou David Marwick was still making shoes, now in his 60th year. Betsy, his wife was 67, and living with them was their 16-year-old grandson David Marwick Leonard, employed as an apprentice at blacksmith Magnus Kirkness’s smiddy just down the track from Tou and close to Quoygray. Meanwhile Magnus Clouston was paying £15 rent for Tou and its 26.5 acres of land. By then his wife Jane was 62 years old, son James was a 25-year-old fisherman, and younger son John a 22-year-old shoemaker.

John, just mentioned, was 21 years old when he married 19-year-old Maggie Ann Craigie, the first-born of the thirteen children of Magnus Craigie, Falquoy, later Pliverha’, and Helen Cooper, Sound, Egilsay. The ceremony at Tou, on August 18th 1899, was conducted by Rousay Established Church minister Rev. Alexander Spark, and witnessed by John Shearer and Alexander Craigie. Maggie Ann and John had two children: Maggie Jane, born in 1900; and John, who was born in 1902.

On February 26th 1892 John’s brother James married Annabella Craigie, first-born daughter of James Craigie, Falquoy, and Janet Sinclair, Stenisgorn, who was born in June 1872. This ceremony was held at Falquoy and also officiated by the Rev. Alexander Spark, the witness being David Inkster and Robert Sinclair. Annabella and James had two children; Clara Craigie, born in 1892; and James, who was born in 1896. Clara married David Cursiter Moar, Yesnaby, in 1912 and raised a family of five children. In 1925 James Clouston, junior, married Annabella Sinclair, daughter of Robert Sinclair, Stenisgorn, later Sketquoy, and Margaret Flaws, Hammerfield, who was born in August 1903.

Above left: Clara & James Clouston of Tou c.1900. Above right: Young James with his grandfather Mansie.
Below: James Clouston and his wife Annabella Craigie with their children Clara and James, c.1906. Right: James and Annabella, again with Clara and James, just prior to him joining up and going to war. c.1916.

Magnus [Mansie] Clouston was 86 years of age when he passed away on March 20th 1913, just over two years after his wife Jane died. In all, Tou was occupied by members of the Clouston family for nearly 200 years.

James Clouston senior was sub-postmaster at Tou, and the photo below shows Tou today, the cluster of buildings towards the centre/right. The Rousay Post Office is to the left, with Lower Hammerfield and Hammerfield above, and Quoygray and Quoyostray below.

All black and white photographs, unless otherwise stated, are courtesy
of the Tommy Gibson Collection.

The map is a section from the Ordnance Survey 25 inch to the mile, 1st
edition, Survey date: 1879, Publication date: 1880
[Edited and enhanced for clarity]
‘Reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland’